Our Portraits

Our museum owns seven Robert Henri portraits including the well-known Queen Marianna painted in Spain in 1898.  They are all presently on display in our gallery. Shown below are six of them.

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Bridgeen

1927, Oil on Canvas

On loan from the Collection of

Tammy and Larry Paulsen

In Memory of Ike and Shirley Paulsen

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In the summer of 1927, the Henris stayed at Corrymore and this captivating portrait of Bridgeen was painted there. Of children, Henri wrote in 1915: Feel the dignity of a child. Do not feel superior. Certainly, Bridgeen reflects that view. Like all of the portraits, the eyes look directly at you no matter where you stand in the room. Henri’s signature is on the reverse side of the painting. This portrait was painted about a year and a half before Henri died in 1929 in New York City.

Dutch Girl With Sailor Hat

1907, Oil on Canvas

Museum Purchase 2016 - Gift of Tammy and Larry Paulsen

In Memory of Ike and Shirley Paulsen

2019.7.1

This painting has an interesting history. It was painted at a time when Henri had established himself as the leading portrait painter of his day and was considered a representative example of his work done early in his career while in Holland. It was included in the Robert Henri Memorial Exhibition, organized by his friend John Sloan with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 1931, two years after his death. Fifty-four paintings were in the show, most of which were loaned from the Henri estate.

Its more recent history is equally fascinating as it was purchased by the museum in 2016. It was subsequently discovered that it was the favorite Henri painting of Shirley Paulsen, the founder of the Robert Henri Museum and Historical Walkway. Both she and her husband, Ike, died in a tragic accident at the time the museum opened to the public in 1985. Another remarkable coincidence is that the painting was acquired on the same day as Ike and Shirley Paulsen’s wedding anniversary.

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MacNamara

1925, Oil on Canvas

Gift of Anonymous Donor

2019.6.1

Robert and Marjorie Henri first visited Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland in 1913. There was a personal tie to the country as Marjorie and her sister, Violet were both born in Ireland. Initially, they rented a house called Corrymore but it was not until 1924, after World War I had ended, that the Henris returned. Then they purchased Corrymore, and spent each summer there through 1928.

 

While on Achill Island Henri painted many Irish children from the town of Dooagh, a small village, including this portrait of Tom MacNamara in 1925. While in Ireland he also painted a few landscapes but primarily portraits in what became one of his most productive times as an artist.

Carl

1921, Oil on Canvas

On loan from the Collection of Tammy and Larry Paulsen

In Memory of Ike and Shirley Paulsen

L2019.1.2

In 1921, Henri, along with his friends George Bellows, Eugene Speicher and Leon Kroll, went to Woodstock, in upstate New York to paint. After looking for subjects he met the Schleicher family and painted their children, including their young child Karl. He described Karl as a little gnome of two and a half. In the end, he painted Karl nine times.

Karl Schleicher became a prominent physicist and mathematician, and worked for prestigious firms, ending his career as oceanographic engineer in the Physical Oceanography Department of the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

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Gipsy Girl (sic)

1915, Oil on Canvas

Museum Purchase 2016 - Gift of Tammy and Larry Paulsen,

Marcia and Jon Montgomery and Cozad Alfalfa

In Memory of Ike and Shirley Paulsen

2019.7.2

This painting was completed in Ogunquit, Maine in 1915 as Henri had traveled there with his wife Marjorie, and Emma and George Bellows. The painting has also been called Laughing Gypsy Girl but Gipsy Girl was signed on the back of the painting by Henri. This painting is a good example of why Henri loved to paint children for their honesty and purity of expression. This young girl has a beautiful smile, bright eyes and pretty hair. She has lost her front teeth and has yet to get adult teeth.

The Gipsy Girl is a museum visitor favorite and it was the first Henri purchased by the organization. It also has an interesting provenance as it was owned at one time by Delia Spencer Field (1854–1937), wife of the Chicago based department store founder Marshall Field (1834–1906). Then it was passed onto her niece, Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge (Catherine Eddy) (1881–1970), the wife of the United States Senator from Indiana and political ally of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Carl Gustave Waldeck

1896, Oil on Canvas

Gift of The Waldeck family

In memory of Carl Robert "Bob" Waldeck

2021.11-1

The portrait of Carl Gustave Waldeck is an historically significant one in the long and successful career of Robert Henri. While his reputation as a portrait painter was not established until about five years later, this is his first large scale portrait.

Carl Waldeck was born near St. Louis and at an early age showed potential as an artist. In 1893, he went to Paris and studied at the Académies Julian and Colarossi.  While there he received several awards for his work and in 1896, at the time that this painting was created, his work was being hung in the Paris Salon. Waldeck and Henri, who by then was an established American artist, were good friends, as evidenced by the note Henri added to the bottom left of the painting:  a l'ami Waldeck, translated to my friend, Waldeck.   

 

After traveling through Europe, Waldeck returned to St. Louis, established a studio and became a well-known portrait painter himself.  Waldeck received many honors in his lifetime including being named an officer of the French Academy.  He remained in St. Louis until he died in 1930, just one year after Henri died.

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Attributed To ROBERT HENRI (?)

American, 1865-1929

 

Self Portrait

1886, Oil on Canvas

Gift of Linda and Andrew Egendorf

 2022.1.1

This study is believed to have been painted by Robert Henri and given to Louis and Nettie Horch about 1925, four years before Henri’s death. Horsch, a wealthy financier and arts patron, had been supportive of the Master Institute of United Arts, an art institute founded in 1920 by Nicholas and Helena Roerich. Nicholas was a spiritual leader and an important and prolific painter of the era. In 1922, Horsch bought a mansion and moved the small art facility operated by the Roeriches into larger quarters. At this new museum art students were exposed to artwork created by Roerich and other international artists including Henri.

 

To support an even grander effort, Horsch built the Master Building, a twenty-seven-story structure on Riverside Drive which opened in 1929. It was designed as a mixed-use structure with the building's lower floors consisting of a museum; a school for the fine and performing arts; and an international art center. Horsch funded the institute and was a partner with the Roerichs in this effort.

 

After the dissolution of the partnership in 1938, the Horsch family created a new museum, called the Riverside Museum. The Roerichs then built a new museum for his personal collection. Ultimately, the Riverside Museum closed in the 1970s.

 

Henri and the Horschs were friends, and Louis Horsch owned several other Henri paintings that were placed on display and included in exhibitions at the Roerich Museum as well as it is believed, this one. Also, Henri taught and lectured at the museum.

 

When the Roerichs and Horschs parted ways, the Horschs took their paintings with them, and unfortunately Roerich destroyed his archives. This painting passed down through the Horch family to a grandson who in turn sold the painting to the donor.

 

Experts who study Henri’s work disagree about the painting.  One believes it was created when Henri was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia from 1886-88. The painting, which is dated 1886, reflects the teaching techniques used there at the time and is characteristic of the painter’s style in some of his early work. This expert suggests that it might not be a self-portrait although it may have been based loosely on his physiognomy. The PAFA staff also believes it could have been painted at the time that Henri attended the academy and is typical of the work of students of that time.

 

Another important Henri scholar simply does not believe it is a Henri, suggesting that it is atypical of his work.Or, perhaps Henri had the painting and simply gave it to Horch, and a tradition began that it had been painted by Henri. This painting, like several others here, reveal the complicated nature of trying to authenticate a work of art even by the experts. As the museum staff delve more deeply into this painting they are finding more evidence collaborating the provenance given by the Horch family.

Occasionally a Henri portrait shows up in an unusual place like PBS's Antique's Roadshow. This Henri painting was recently featured on the popular program and watch the woman's reaction to how much it is worth:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/season/15/san-diego-ca/appraisals/1907-robert-henri-oil-painting--201001A19/